10/18/2012 3:19PM

Belmont Park: Saginaw well-spotted for a win in Hudson Stakes

Adam Coglianese/NYRA
Saginaw turns back from this victory in the one-mile Promenade All to the six-furlong Hudson Stakes.

ELMONT, N.Y. – After Saginaw won an overnight stakes against Lunar Victory going a mile last month, trainer David Jacobson might have been tempted to run him back Saturday in the $250,000 Empire Classic at 1 1/8 miles.

But Jacobson didn’t land atop the Belmont Park trainer standings by misplacing his horses. Instead, Jacobson opted to run Saginaw in the $150,000 Hudson Stakes at six furlongs, one of seven stakes for New York-breds on Saturday, New York Showcase Day.

“It’s just an easier spot,” Jacobson said Thursday morning at Aqueduct. “The [Empire Classic] scares me a little bit. Lunar Victory was real sharp last time; I think he’d be tough to beat going longer. I try to put Saginaw in the best spot.”

With the exception of taking a swing in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Handicap, Jacobson has made all the right moves with Saginaw, who has won seven of eight starts since Jacobson claimed him for $30,000 off Richard Dutrow Jr. in March.

Though Saginaw has not run at six furlongs in three years – his first two starts were at that distance – Saginaw has been in front after six furlongs in his victories at 6 1/2 furlongs and seven furlongs.

“He ran in the Morrissey at Saratoga, it was 6 1/2,” Jacobson said. “At Belmont, with the big turns, it’s the same kind of race. He looks tough in there. He’ll be the favorite, although it’s a whole new cast of characters than he’s faced.”

Shrewd One and Sportswriter are two new faces that Saginaw has yet to face. Shrewd One, trained by Phil Serpe for Flying Zee Racing Stables, has three wins and three seconds this year and has shown the versatility to win from on or off the pace. He is making his first start since Aug. 18 at Saratoga.

He has three wins and a nose loss since Serpe added blinkers.

Sportswriter returns to the dirt after winning a division of the New York Stallion Stakes on turf at a mile and then finishing sixth in an open company sprint last out, also on turf.

Completing the field are Smokin Hero, who goes first off the claim for Dominic Galluscio, Mine Over Matter, Ground Force, Neatie the Cat, and Dr Disco.

Iroquois: Risky Rachel goes for repeat

Risky Rachel won the first stakes of her career when she took the Iroquois Stakes here last year. Saturday, she seeks her fifth stakes success when she tries to repeat in the $150,000 Iroquois for fillies and mares at seven furlongs.

Risky Rachel has five wins and a second in her last six starts against New York-breds on dirt. She has not run since winning the Union Avenue at Saratoga on Aug. 20, but that is by design, according to her trainer, Juan Coronel.

“That’s what I wanted,” Coronel said. “She’s fresh, she’s doing amazing. I’m very happy the way she’s been training. She’s coming into this race with no excuse.”

Risky Rachel’s lone loss to New York-breds on dirt in the last 15 months came under Cornelio Velasquez in the seven-furlong Fleet Indian Stakes to Beautiful But Blue, who is also in this field.

“That day there was no speed in the race and I thought Cornelio used the filly a little bit in the beginning,” Coronel said. “The filly is a little tough and he was fighting with her. Saturday, there’s a lot of speed, and sit behind, she loves to do that. I’m very confident.”

Junior Alvarado rides Risky Rachel from post 7 in the nine-horse field.

Beautiful But Blue has won her last five starts on dirt against New York-breds. She returns to statebred company after finishing third in both the Grade 1 Test at Saratoga and the $400,000 Charles Town Oaks.

“She’s doing great,” trainer Tom Bush said. “I’m just absolutely amazed how deep all the races I’m in came up.”

Agave Kiss, who debuted in a maiden race last year on Showcase Day, is among the speed horses in the Iroquois. She blew a two-length lead when beaten a neck in the Valor Lady Stakes 17 days ago, her first start going seven furlongs.

“The seven-eighths looked like it was not her best distance,” trainer Rudy Rodriguez. “She came up a little short.”

Willet could be an upset candidate from off the pace. She ran the best race of her career over a wet Belmont main track last September. This is her third start off a layoff. Willet finished second to Risky Rachel in the Union Avenue in her first start in 10 months and third to Ullapool in an open-company allowance race last month.